Frequently Asked Questions About Temperature for Intel® Processors

Last Reviewed: 17-Nov-2017
Article ID: 000005597

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What is Tcase versus Tjunction?

These terms relate to Intel® Processor temperature for desktop and mobile systems. The processor must not exceed the maximum case temperature defined by the applicable thermal profile. Keeping temperature below the maximum helps optimize operation and long-term reliability.

  • Tcase: Temperature measurement using a thermocouple embedded in the center of the heat spreader. This initial measurement is done at the factory. Post-manufacturing, the BIOS calibrates Tcase. A diode between and below the cores delivers a reading.
  • Tjunction: Synonymous with core temperatures, and calculated based on the output from the Digital Thermal Sensor (DTS) using the formula:

    Tjunction = (Tjunction Max – DTS output)

    Tjunction Max (TjMax) is different than the TCC Activation Temperature. TCC offset represents where the processor starts to throttle, relative to the TjMax value. Tjunction can be the same temperature as TCC if the TCC offset equal to zero.

Why does Intel provide the Tcase specification for desktop processors and the Tjunction specification for mobile processors?

Mobile processors do not have an integrated heat spreader like desktop processors, so mobile thermal specification refers to Tjunction Max instead of Tcase Max.

What does Tcase Max and Tjunction Max mean?

Tcase Max is the maximum temperature measured for Tcase. You can find both Tcase and the thermal specification information on the Intel website.

Tjunction Max is the maximum temperature the cores can reach before thermal throttling activates. Thermal throttling happens when the processor exceeds the maximum temperature. The processor shuts itself off in order to prevent permanent damage. 

What should I do if my desktop board BIOS is reporting a high temperature for my processor?

Intel provides a diode between and below the cores with a reading the BIOS calibrates. This reading can vary greatly between BIOS versions and BIOS vendors. Contact your point of purchase if you purchased your computer from a computer manufacturer.

Does my third-party application report accurate temperatures for my processor?

Most third-party applications are reporting the processor temperature fairly accurately. Because reports can sometimes show erroneous data, download Intel® Processor Diagnostic Tool to test if your processor is working correctly.

Does Intel provide temperature ranges for each processor?

We do not provide temperature ranges for each processor, as it varies by processor. You can find the thermal specifications for a processor in Intel® Core™ Processor technical documentation.

Alternatively, follow these steps:

  1. Visit our product information page.
  2. Select Processors, click the Processor Brand, then select your Processor Generation, Family, or Series. If you aren't sure which category your processor belongs to, use the search specification in the upper-right corner. Enter the processor name and search the site.
  3. Locate the specific processor you need.
  4. Under the Product Specification page of the processor, click Package Specifications to determine Tjunction or Tcase.
Where can I find more information if my computer is overheating? How can I prevent overheating?

Here are some resources that address overheating and prevention of overheating:

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Processor Installation Center